Race fans don't know what number Dale Earnhardt Jr. will use beginning in
2008 with the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500, but they do know it
won't be the No. 8.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Inc. were unable to come to terms on the use of the No. 8 and that Earnhardt Jr. will not compete with that number in 2008.
Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, is leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. at season's end to join Hendrick Motorsports, a team that has won six Daytona 500s.
The No. 8 is the only number that Earnhardt Jr. has used in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career and was also the number that was used by his grandfather Ralph Earnhardt.
Earnhardt Jr. has used several different numbers in the NASCAR Busch Series including No. 3, No. 81 No. 87 and No. 88. At Daytona International Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. has competed with the No. 81 in the 2004 and 2005 summer NASCAR Busch Series races and used the No. 88 in the 2007 summer Busch Series race.
"The 50th running of the Daytona 500 will be historic for not only Daytona International Speedway but also for Dale Earnhardt Jr.," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. "Dale Jr. will have a new number as he begins a new era in his racing career with Hendrick Motorsports. Now we're anxiously waiting to find out what number he is going to use in the most anticipated racing event in history."
In addition to the 50th running of the Daytona 500, Earnhardt Jr. will compete in other DIRECTV Speedweeks events including:
· The Gatorade Duel At Daytona 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 14
· Daytona 500 Qualifying presented by Kroger on Feb. 10
· The 30th annual Budweiser Shootout on Saturday Feb. 9, a non-points All-Star race that features the previous season's Bud Pole winners as well as past Budweiser Shootout champions.
Earnhardt Jr. is also expected to compete in the Camping World 300 presented by Chevrolet on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Already tabbed one of the hottest tickets in sports, NASCAR tickets for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks events can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or logging onto www.racetickets.com
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